Centennial Place provides purpose, job skill training

New facility trains people to take care of themselves

Centennial Place program facilitator Karen Borgfjord (centre) and manager Brandi Matheson (right) share a coffee with one of the members of the facility.

A program aiming to help local adults living with mental illness succeed their life goals and aspirations is happily settling into its new home on 11 Avenue.

Centennial Place has been filled with activity since the beginning of January, and recently celebrated its grand opening.

But this isn’t a residence, noted Brandi Matheson, program manager.

“We mentor and train people to take care of themselves.”

Compared to previous offerings in Mission, Centennial Place isn’t a drop-in spot where people just gather to have coffee. While that does happen, it’s on a schedule, and there are chores that must be accomplished and programs run throughout the day.

Having this type of schedule adds purpose to people’s day, said Matheson.

“This is a place a of purpose — a supportive environment.”

There is a strong vocational focus to the facility, and they help participants learn customer service skills, basic reception/administrative type work, keep the house clean, and run a till. There are also classes from basic to advanced in computers.

“We help a lot of people who haven’t worked in a long time,” said Matheson, noting about 20-30 people a day stream through the doors.

The previous iteration of this program, which was just a very basic social drop-in style, was based out of St. Andrew’s United Church.

Now, members are referred by outside agencies.

Matheson said a number of local groups and businesses helped bring Centennial Place to life, including St. Andrew’s, Riverside College’s carpentry program, and Mission Renewables, Inc.